Hi REI peoples! I often find that my best outdoors stories involve being adjacent to but not trapped in exciting weather. Anyone else think that?
Here are some pictures from a hike up Monadnock in NH after an ice storm of a nor'easter last fall:
We didn't really anticipate the conditions, as is was just rain in the lowlands. Despite some misgivings as it started to get icy, though, it was all melting rapidly enough that we didn't face any serious scary bits.
Anyone else got exciting crazy weather stories?
I was backpacking in late fall in the sierras. I hadn't been especially careful about the forecast, it had been perfect for days, but it started to completely pour. I had a goal in mind so I kept going up, and further into the wilderness. My rain gear wasn't adequate for such torrential rain, so I eventually got soaked. So long as i kept moving it wasn't too bad, I wasn't too cold. Thinking I'd figure it out at camp, I just kept on doggedly. The temperature kept dropping and by 5 pm, it was getting near freezing. At that point I was far from any trail back, pretty exhausted, and getting really cold. Then it started to snow. I dropped my pack, bushwacked to the top a of a ridge and miraculously got network. It showed a snow thunderstorm at night and all day the next day. I genuinely got scared of hypothermia, and considering I was supposed to summit a couple of peaks the next day the lightning storm kind of got me terrified too. I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep my sleeping bag dry. I managed to call a trail angel's number I had for that area and met her at a forest road. I think she might've saved my life. Maybe I was too cautious? But in the moment I was getting desperate.
Wow, scary! You totally did the right thing! Much better safe than sorry, especially when hiking solo.
Another hike I did in the Whites, I didn't check my camping-partner's hiking plan, and we ended up hiking from dawn until an hour after dark. In constant relentless light rain. Turns out years-old water-proof-breathable is just water-logged-breathable under that onslaught. We locked out, and the tentsite at the end was unexpectedly deserted, so we set our ten up in the shelter. Otherwise that would have been an awful night.
My camping partner was newly a marathon runner at that point; i should have know better. But she calls it "the death march" to this day because she was sure i was so angry at her in my silence on the trail. I was just trying to keep up, though.